‘Difficult decisions’ ahead if enrollment woes continue

If enrollment doesn’t increase, Missouri Southern could be downsizing in the very near future.

“We may be doing that already,” said University President Bruce Speck regarding the downsizing idea during Friday’s Board of Governors retreat.

Issues addressed at the retreat ranged from strategic planning to alumni relations, however conversation leaned heavily to Southern’s drop in enrollment and a course of action should numbers not rebound.

“[If enrollment drops again] I’ll be disappointed, bordering on pissed,” said Board member David Ansley. “If we don’t increase the numbers we’re going to have some very difficult decisions to make.”

Speck said the University could be looking at “significant structural changes,” even if current enrollment remains stable.

Derek Skaggs, director of enrollment services, gave a presentation to the Board about possibly ways to increase enrollment and retention and fielded the Board’s questions about the future of Southern’s enrollment.

“I want you guys to step out of the box,” Ansley said.

Suggestions made included marketing the University to younger high school students, upping recruiting efforts in St. Louis and Kansas City and making an effort to recruit from local two-year institutions.

“We shouldn’t be targeting seniors,” said Board member Nancy Perry.

The Board retreat also included included discussion about internal governance, and the power of the presidency.

“When it comes down to it I have the final vote,” Speck said. “Just because people give input doesn’t mean we’re going to do it that way.”